Immunology in the Clinic Review Series; focus on allergies: immunotherapy for food allergy.
There is no approved therapy for food allergy. The current standard of care is elimination of the triggering food from the diet and accessibility to epinephrine. Immunotherapy is a promising treatment approach. While desensitization to most foods seems feasible, it remains unclear if a permanent state of tolerance is achievable. The research team at Duke is pioneering immunotherapy for food allergies. Work here has evolved over time from small open-label pilot studies to larger randomized designs. Our data show that immunological changes associated with immunotherapy include reduction in mast cell reactivity, decreased basophil responses, decreased specific-immunoglobulin (Ig)E, increased IgG4 and induction of regulatory T cells. Immunotherapy has generated much excitement in the food allergy community; however, further studies are needed before it is ready for clinical use.
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